The BBC was given exclusive access to the synchrotron construction site and to the gatherings - and the degree of harmony was striking.
Delegates from Cyprus and Turkey (which do not have diplomatic relations) and from Israel, Iran and Pakistan (the latter two having no relations with Israel) sat together, alongside Jordanians, Palestinians and Egyptians. Given the degree of tension at a political level, the atmosphere was amazingly calm and businesslike.
According to Prof Eliezer Rabinovici, a physicist from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, the project is "a beacon of hope for many people in the area who dare to believe" that life in the region can be improved.
Construction The site is currently under construction, but the first science could begin as early as 2015
"We are having a rough period now - a very rough period - and it may become even rougher.
"But I think that as scientists, we have to look at the long range, and in the long range we see no conflict of interest between the people of Iran and the people of Israel."
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